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Theresa Spann with Carman and Gail

Two professionals dedicated to feeding the minds and bodies of their students are being celebrated by the Lake County school district.

Theresa Spann, the Culinary Arts Teacher at Umatilla High School, was named the 2022 Rookie Teacher of the Year.

April Dempsey, the Food Service Manager at Grassy Lake Elementary, is the 2022 School-Related Employee of the Year.

Both were announced the winners of their respective categories at a celebration event, presented by Insight Credit Union and hosted by the Education Foundation of Lake County. School district staff, dignitaries and sponsors were on hand to recognize Spann and Dempsey along with this year’s Rookie Teacher of the Year and School-Related Employee of the Year honorees from other Lake County schools.

Spann, who has been teaching for just under three years, left her career in the hospitality industry to lead a classroom kitchen. Since joining the faculty at Umatilla High, Spann helped create the Bulldog Bistro, an on-campus cafe run by her culinary students which gives them real-world experience to help prepare for their culinary certification exams.

Dempsey has been the Food Service Manager at Grassy Lake Elementary since it opened in 2007 and was instrumental in creating the school’s cafeteria structure, protocols and culture. 

“Whether in the classroom or in a role that supports student success, it is important that we recognize the professionals who do so much to support our schools,” said Diane Kornegay, Superintendent of Lake County Schools. “I am proud of Theresa and April for their exceptional leadership and dedication to our students.”

A video of the celebration can be viewed here. The complete news release can be viewed here.

2022 Rookie Teacher of the Year Theresa Spann, center, with Umatilla High School Principal Thomas Gerds and Lake County Schools Superintendent Diane Kornegay.
School-Related Employee of the Year April Dempsey, center, with Lake County Schools Superintendent Diane Kornegay and Grassy Lake Elementary Principal Julie Williams.